Our planet is approaching a critical environmental juncture. Across the globe we continue to deplete the five pools of carbon—soil, wood, coal, oil, and natural gas—at an unsustainable rate. We’ve burned up half the planet’s known reserves of oil—one trillion barrels—in less than a century. When these sources of energy-rich carbon go into severe decline, as they surely will, society will follow.
Former archeologist and Sierra Club activist Courtney White calls this moment the Age of Consequences—a time when the worrying consequences of our environmental actions—or inaction—have begun to raise unavoidable and difficult questions. How should we respond? What are effective (and realistic) solutions?
In exploring these questions, White draws on his formidable experience as an environmentalist and activist as well as his experience as a father to two children living through this vital moment in time. As a result, The Age of Consequences is a book of ideas and action, but it is also a chronicle of personal experience. Readers follow White as he travels the country—from Kansas to Los Angeles, New York City, Italy, France, Yellowstone, and New England. Along the way he recounts stories of Amish farmers in Ohio, cattle ranchers in the Southwest, creek restorationists in New Mexico, local food entrepreneurs in Arizona, and carbon pioneers in Australia. Their stories inform and entertain, but they also reveal encouraging and hopeful answers to anguished questions about our collective future, including issues of sustainability, climate change mitigation, resilience, land health, collaborative conservation, ecological restoration, and regenerative agriculture.
The Age of Consequences is an engaging and informative look at our current environmental predicament, as well as an important contribution to the growing body of environmental literature by writers such as Wallace Stegner, Wendell Berry, Barbara Kingsolver, Bill McKibben and E.O. Wilson, and Michael Pollan. For fans of Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest and Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes of a Catastrophe.